The Project: The Walking Dead
Panel: Robert Kirkman, Scott Gimple, Greg Nicotero, Andrew Lincoln, Danai Gurira, Steve Yuen, Lauren Cohan, Chad Coleman, Norman Reedus (armed with stuffed squirrels to throw to the audience), Gale Anne Hurd, and Dave Alpert
Footage screened: Producer Hurd introduced two never-before-seen clips from the fourth season — one at the start of the panel and one at the end. SPOILER ALERT! The first scene features Daryl (Reedus), Michonne (Gurira), and a new young male character armed but relaxing by an abandoned store in a former mall plaza. The newbie compliments Daryl, who is now part of the new council, and theorizes about Daryl’s former occupation prior to the Zombipocalypse. He guesses homicide cop, which amuses Michonne and Daryl — a rare moment of these two intense characters allowing themselves to laugh. The group is then met by Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), Tyreese (Coleman), and newcomer Bob Stookey (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) as they enter a store to take out the few remaining Walkers inside. But little do they know, the roof of the store is infested with Walkers spreading out from a crashed military helicopter.
The second sneak peek also stars Daryl and Michonne, this time in a car accompanied by Bob and Tyreese. As Daryl asks Michonne to put in a CD, they hear a faint voice coming from the radio. Daryl attempts to adjust the frequency to get a clearer signal but while doing so, almost hits a Walker in the road. Swerving away, Daryl dodges a scattering of Walkers that then turn into a herd. Before the crew can get rid of the infestation, they are surrounded by Walkers. This is no herd of ordinary Walkers — it’s the edge of a Walker army; hundreds are heading in their direction. Daryl quickly puts the car in reverse but a wheel gets stuck in a pile of fallen Walkers. Blood spatters and bones crush as the wheel cuts through the Walkers.
Snap judgment: The overwhelming fear of the Walkers is back — and it is good. After a third season featuring more human-on-human conflicts than human-on-undead confrontations, this season is a welcome return to the zombie portion of the Zombie Apocalypse.
Big revelations: Michael Cudlitz is “motherf—ing Abraham!” The Southland actor stormed up to the audience mic disguised as an angry fan, demanding showrunner Gimple include Sgt. Abraham Ford on the series. He then revealed his identity, in fully bearded and muscle-toned character. The producers also confirmed the casting of Christian Serratos (Twilight) as Rosita Espinosa and announced actor/comedian Josh McDermitt as Eugene, who, according to Nicotero, is sure to be “fully mulleted.”
Lincoln also teased a big moment for Rick’s son Carl (Chandler Riggs). “Chandler is going to kick ass. Wait for episode 9. There’s a spoiler. I don’t care. I’ve just said it,” said Lincoln. He later added that he was “so disturbed” and “shell-shocked” after reading the script for an episode later this season. “I was trying to call everybody because I needed to speak to a human voice. We are going to get in so much trouble in this episode,” he said.
Latest Carol/Daryl and Richonne romance news: Moderator, Walking Dead super-fan, and Community co-star Yvette Nicole Brown shared that she is an unabashed Carol/Daryl shipper and is also excited by a possible Rick-Michonne romance. “You do know, Sarah Wayne Callies [who played Rick’s wife Lori] will kick my ass if it happened in season four. Maybe after a couple more seasons,” said Lincoln. Reedus kept coy, quipping, “I’m practicing behind the scenes if you know what I’m talking about.”
Most incisive audience question: At first, one young male fan incurred boos from the panel after mentioning some fans’ dislike of Lori and Andrea. But he brought his question back around, asking about Carol’s development into a strong, female lead character. Gimble gave an insight into what we can expect from Carol. He said, “This season, we’ve seen her in the trailers teaching kids about knives. She had a daughter that died, and there’s a lot of kids in this prison now. She’s making sure that she herself is not a victim. She’s also making sure the kids aren’t victims.”
The fourth season of The Walking Dead premieres Sunday, Oct. 13 at 9 p.m. on AMC.